The father of the two youngest Colombian jungle survivor children has confessed to DailyMail.com that he did cheat on their mom shortly before the astonishing survival ordeal.
Manuel Ranoque, 32, admitted having the affair behind the back of wife Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia, 34 – who died in the plane crash and the miraculous survival of her four children for 40 days before they were plucked from the rainforest.
‘I am made of flesh and bones and make mistakes,’ Ranoque told DailyMail.com, who exclusively revealed he cheated with a woman while in the Colombian capital Bogota and even brought her back to his indigenous Amazonian community.
Sitting down with us in a Bogota hotel, he confessed: ‘Yes I had a woman, but it was never in order to leave Magdalena.’
And he insisted the affair was now over, saying: ‘It was just a one-time thing – what happened, happened.’
Manuel Ranoque admitted he cheated on his wife before she died in a small plane crash in the Amazon jungle in Colombia
Exclusive photos show the four siblings, Lesly, 13, Soleiny, nine, Tien Noriel, four, and baby Cristin, one, safe in their hospital beds at a military hospital in Bogota, Colombia
Ranoque has appeared outside the military hospital several times since the children were taken there on Saturday after their astonishing rescue. He has been highly vocal about claiming his rights over all four survivors
The dead woman’s brother Dairo told DailyMail.com: ‘We didn’t know Magdalena was leaving with the children. The most painful thing is my sister never said goodbye to us’
Magdalena’s brother Dairo Mucutuy, 30, revealed Ranoque first went to Bogota alleging he was being threatened by a dissident group of FARC guerrillas in his southern tribal area.
But once in the sprawling city sitting 8,600ft above sea level on a plateau in the Andes he had an affair behind the back of his wife of seven years.
Ranoque then took the woman back to their community in the Amazonian village of Araracuara which shattered Magdalena, insisted her brother.
Magdalena died in the plane crash along with the pilot and an Indigenous leader
He later left for Bogota again, but kept the desperate mom dangling with hope that they could re-establish a relationship, Dairo, 30, told us.
And it was that hope amid her partner’s affair that led her suddenly – and without her family’s knowledge – to gather up her children for the fateful light aircraft journey to the town of San Jose del Guaviare en route to the nation’s capital.
‘Manuel went back to Bogota, but he left a bag for her and inside was a piece of paper with a phone number,’ said Dairo.
‘Magdalena was communicating with him. But we noticed when she talked with him she would hide. And we would sometimes hear her crying.
‘We believe somehow she was fooled into trying to come to Bogota. We are not exactly sure of the reasons.’
Sitting in his hotel’s lobby, Ranoque illustrated the animosity between the two sides of the family when he said of Dario: ‘He’s bringing these things up. But eventually he will be in a tough situation.’
The story that gripped the world tragically began when the engine on the blue and white Cessna light aircraft carrying Magdalena and the four siblings failed and the plane crashed in deep undergrowth on May 1 at Solano, Caqueta, near the Ecuadorian border.
Lesly Jacombaire Mucutuy, 13, Soleiny Jacombaire Mucutuy, nine, Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutuy, four, and one-year-old Cristin Neriman Ranoque Mucutuy survived the impact and astonishingly managed to stay alive for 40 days in the snake-infested jungle before being rescued.
They remain recovering from their ordeal in a military hospital in Bogota, amid accusations of a custody battle between the mother’s side of the family and Ranoque.
Manuel Ranoque initially dodged DailyMail.com’s questions about allegations of abuse while standing outside the Bogota hospital where the four children are recuperating. Now he has admitted to cheating on his wife
Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia was left dangling with hope they could mend the relationship, according to her brother
Soldiers of the Colombian Air Force and employees of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) give medical attention inside a plane to the surviving children of a Cessna 206 plane crash
However the dad revealed all four are still struggling, to the point where family visits are limited.
‘They are delicate, they are still sick,’ he said. ‘I didn’t see the two youngest ones today. In fact I haven’t seen them for four days because of their condition.
‘They aren’t well enough for visits. They have flu and headaches.
‘I hope they get well soon but the lord will have the last say. I haven’t been told anything about when they can be released from hospital.’
Ranoque revealed that even if the children were well enough for visits, he is still banned from seeing the two oldest. Their father is Andres Jacombaire, who DailyMail.com understands is also in Bogota but not in good health.
‘I’m not fighting that because I know I will eventually see Lesly and Soleiny,’ said Ranoque.
The dad – who has previously been highly vocal about claiming his rights over all four survivors – added: ‘Nor am I going to fight over custody.
‘But (I will say) that the kids need to be with me. I fought for them while helping to search for them and I have fought for them in their lives.
‘The four kids need to be with me, not separated.’
Manuel Ranoque believes his two children and their half-siblings should not be separated. But he said he would not fight for custody even though he believes they all should be with him
The Cessna crashed into thick jungle in southern Colombia, killing all three adults on board, but the four children all miraculously survived
The four indigenous children are pictured after being rescued. They were missing for six weeks in the Colombian Amazon jungle after the plane crashed
FARC waged a 50-year campaign against the Colombian government in which more than 200,000 people died before agreeing to a ceasefire in 2016. Dissident groups have continued to fight on
Ranoque refused to detail the four children’s first words to him after they were dramatically rescued in a military operation.
‘I will wait for them to tell their own story,’ he said. ‘They were so happy to see me because I am part of their life. But let them say that.’
Of the public allegation by Magdalena’s father Narciso Mucutuy that he had physically assaulted his wife, he insisted: ‘It’s not true. A lot of people who have heard this are angry over such a lie.
‘I could just tell you all pretty things about myself, but you will get the truth from the children when they can speak. I will let the children speak for me.’
Meanwhile Ranoque doubled down on his public pronouncements that Magdalena and the children left on the tragic flight because of threats by an armed dissident band of FARC guerrillas operating in their area – despite a public denial by the group.
The dad, who has a community role in the region, told DailyMail.com: ‘Yes, they have threatened me. I can’t talk about it. Yes they have threatened to kill me.’
He had claimed this week: ‘The Carolina Ramirez front (of FARC) is looking to kill me. I have threats because of them. I am a target.
A baby’s bottle was found in the jungle near the crash site. The youngest child Cristin Mucutuy was just 11 months old at the time of the accident, although she has had her first birthday since
‘I know the whole region. I know that these shameless people can start to put pressure on me with my children and I will not allow that.’
But the group that calls itself the Central General Staff and has about 3,500 active fighters categorically denied the claims in a statement.
It said: ‘It is not true and we do not know the reasons for the statements of the father of the minors before the media that the children and wife were fleeing from the region of Puerto Sabala and the Cahuinari river, due to the threats from our units.’
The group describes itself as ‘mobile, nomadic guerrillas’ who reach ‘Indigenous communities in the Colombian southeast with whom they seek friendship’.
FARC – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – waged a war of terror for 50 years against the Colombian government leading to the deaths of more than 200,000 people. A peace treaty signed in 2016 has largely held but groups of dissidents rejected the accord and refused to disarm.
The Carolina Ramirez Front continues to fight for control of much of the south of the country. The group has been battling another breakaway FARC group and tensions erupted in gunfire last November when two dozen people were killed in a gun battle in Puerto Guzman, 300 miles from Araracuara.
Dairo Mucutuy blasted Ranoque for his comments about being targeted by the guerillas, saying they could put the entire family in danger.
‘Saying those words is very dangerous,’ he told us. ‘That is also potentially making us all in the spotlight.
‘It’s a very serious thing to say. There is no evidence he was threatened. But the consequences of his words could create a dangerous situation for all our family.’